The Baker Upstairs: October 2021

10.29.2021

Pumpkin French Toast

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This pumpkin french toast is super easy to make, and incredibly delicious. It's the perfect fall breakfast!
This pumpkin french toast is super easy to make, and incredibly delicious. It's the perfect fall breakfast!
If there's one food my baby girl Bee can't get enough of, it's french toast! She eats it for breakfast several days a week (I just make a big batch and keep the leftovers in the fridge for her) and she loves to eat it with bananas or fresh berries. I usually make her french toast very simple (just eggs and bread) but occasionally it's fun to branch out and make something special for Saturday breakfast for the family. This pumpkin french toast is a favorite this time of year! It has a super delicious pumpkin spice flavor, and best of all, it's easy to make!
This pumpkin french toast is super easy to make, and incredibly delicious. It's the perfect fall breakfast!
I've used both Texas toast and challah to make this pumpkin french toast, and it's delicious either way! You'll definitely want a thicker slice of bread than a typical sandwich loaf. It's also totally fantastic with homemade french bread. We usually keep it simple with just butter and syrup on top of the french toast, but if I'm feeling extra fancy, this homemade cinnamon buttermilk syrup is over-the-top delicious with it. This pumpkin french toast is a fall favorite!
This pumpkin french toast is super easy to make, and incredibly delicious. It's the perfect fall breakfast!
Pumpkin French Toast

1 loaf Texas Toast or other thick white bread
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
4 eggs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat a griddle to medium heat. In a shallow dish, whisk together the milk, pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Dip the bread into the pumpkin mixture, coating both sides, then cook on the preheated griddle for 2-3 minutes on each side, until the bread is lightly browned. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.

adapted from Cooking Classy
This pumpkin french toast is super easy to make, and incredibly delicious. It's the perfect fall breakfast!

10.27.2021

Easy Chicken Parmesan

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This easy chicken parmesan is a simple and flavorful main dish that's quick to make, and a family favorite!  
This easy chicken parmesan is a simple and flavorful main dish that's quick to make, and a family favorite!
Who else loves chicken for dinner? We eat chicken more than any other meat at our house, and it's on the menu several nights a week. I have a ton of recipes on the blog using rotisserie chicken, because it's so easy and quick to throw into just about anything, but sometimes it's a nice change of pace to just actually cook the chicken instead of using the pre-cooked chicken from Costco. Since I'm a busy (and perpetually exhausted) mom of three, dinner needs to be low effort, high reward, or else I'm not going to bother with it most of the time. 

If you, like me, are always looking for another simple and delicious dinner recipe to add to your rotation, look no further than this easy chicken parmesan! It's quick to make, totally kid-friendly, and always a family favorite. It's easy enough for a busy weeknight dinner, but fancy enough to serve for company! It's just a great all-around meal. Serve it with pasta or rice, add some steamed veggies or a green salad on the side, and you've got a reasonably healthy and delicious meal that's ready in no time at all. 
This easy chicken parmesan is a simple and flavorful main dish that's quick to make, and a family favorite!
Since the chicken breasts I usually buy are enormous, I started by slicing them in half horizontally to form thinner, more manageable portions. They will cook faster and more evenly that way, and I like that I can stretch three chicken breasts into dinner for my family and lunch for my husband and I the next day. Next, I coated the chicken in seasoned breadcrumbs, and baked it until it was cooked through. Next comes the fun part! Spread marinara sauce on each piece of chicken, then sprinkle it with cheese. I just used spaghetti sauce from the jar to keep things simple, but feel free to use homemade (this is my favorite homemade marinara sauce). I used freshly shredded low moisture mozzarella, but I think fresh mozzarella or provolone would also be delicious. 
This easy chicken parmesan is a simple and flavorful main dish that's quick to make, and a family favorite!
Put the pan back in the oven, then bake it until the cheese is melty and gooey and delicious. Look at all of that gorgeous melty cheese!
This easy chicken parmesan is a simple and flavorful main dish that's quick to make, and a family favorite!
I like to serve it over fettucine or spaghetti, but you can use any form of pasta you like, or even just skip the pasta if you want less carbs (I always want more carbs). As with most Italian food, the leftovers are delicious, and I think it maybe even tastes better the next day. I plan most of my meals with leftovers in mind, and this one makes delicious leftovers!
This easy chicken parmesan is a simple and flavorful main dish that's quick to make, and a family favorite!
This easy and delicious chicken parmesan is sure to be a new family favorite!
This easy chicken parmesan is a simple and flavorful main dish that's quick to make, and a family favorite!
Easy Chicken Parmesan

3 large chicken breasts
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 375. Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to form six thin cutlets. In a shallow dish, whisk together the egg and milk. In another shallow dish, whisk together the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese. Dip each chicken cutlet in the egg miture, then in the bread crumb mixture, making sure to coat both sides with bread crumbs. Place the chicken cutlets on a greased baking sheet, and spray with cooking spray. Bake 25-30 minutes, until browned and cooked through. Spread 1/4 cup of marinara sauce on each of the cutlets, then sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot over pasta or rice.
This easy chicken parmesan is a simple and flavorful main dish that's quick to make, and a family favorite!

10.25.2021

Easy Homemade Beignets

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These easy homemade beignets are absolutely divine! They're light and fluffy, with the perfect amount of sweetness. So delicious and easy to make!
These easy homemade beignets are absolutely divine! They're light and fluffy, with the perfect amount of sweetness. So delicious and easy to make!
Each year my family makes a bucket list of fall activities, and we have so much fun crossing off all of our favorites as the season progresses. We add things like visiting the pumpkin patch, going apple picking, decorating Halloween cookies, picking up hot chocolate, and going for a drive to see the leaves. One of our favorite items on the list is making homemade doughnuts! 

We usually make these homemade Krispy Kreme doughnuts (which are totally delicious!) but this year we decided to change things up and try beignets instead. They are one of our favorite treats, but I've never made them successfully at home in the past. We had some recently at one of our favorite local doughnut shops (Nola Doughnuts) and I've been craving them ever since!
These easy homemade beignets are absolutely divine! They're light and fluffy, with the perfect amount of sweetness. So delicious and easy to make!
While I was in the midst of my beignet cravings, I stumbled across this beignet recipe from Bless This Mess on Instagram, and it was kismet! They are so simple and easy to make, and absolutely delicious. The insides are soft and pillowy, and the outsides are just slightly crisp. They are really fun to watch as they cook, because they puff up so much, and develop huge air bubbles. I'm not generally a fan of deep frying things, but it's definitely worth making an exception for these doughnuts! (Although... my husband recently bought himself a deep fryer, so you may be seeing more fried recipes around here soon, if he has anything to say about it!) 
These easy homemade beignets are absolutely divine! They're light and fluffy, with the perfect amount of sweetness. So delicious and easy to make!
This recipe makes 24 good-sized beignets, so there are plenty to share with friends or just enjoy by yourself over several days. (I won't tell if you don't want to share them!) They only lasted two days at my house, but they were still fresh and delicious the next day after being stored loosely covered at room temperature. I'm sure they would be even better warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds. If you love beignets like we do (or if you just love delicious treats) you definitely need to try these!
These easy homemade beignets are absolutely divine! They're light and fluffy, with the perfect amount of sweetness. So delicious and easy to make!
Easy Homemade Beignets

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 - 3 1/2 cups flour
confectioners sugar for dusting
oil for frying

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the water, yeast and sugar. Let stand for five minutes, until foamy. Add the eggs, oil, and salt, and mix to combine. Add two cups of flour and mix, then continue to add the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is only slightly sticky to the dough. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise for one hour.

Toward the end of the rise time, preheat at least two inches of oil in a pot or a deep fryer to 350. Gently deflate the dough and separate it in half. Roll each half of the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle that is about 9 inches by 12 inches and 1/2 inch thick. Cut each rectangle into 12 3 x 3 inch squares. Fry the beignets, 3-4 at a time, for about one minute per side, or until deep golden brown. Let the beignets drain on paper towels for a few minutes, then dust liberally with powdered sugar on both sides. Serve hot.

adapted from Bless This Mess
These easy homemade beignets are absolutely divine! They're light and fluffy, with the perfect amount of sweetness. So delicious and easy to make!

10.22.2021

Sour Cream Apple Pie

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This sour cream apple pie is irresistible! It has tender apples in a sweet custard, with buttery cinnamon streusel and flaky pie crust.
This sour cream apple pie is irresistible! It has tender apples in a sweet custard, with buttery cinnamon streusel and flaky pie crust.
Do you ever just see a recipe online and have to make it IMMEDIATELY? That's how it was for me with this sour cream apple pie. My lovely friend Alicia posted a picture of it on her instagram, and it was all I could think about for the next hour. Eventually I realized that I had all of the ingredients on hand to make it, and we had it for dessert that very night! I've never tried a sour cream apple pie before (or ever even heard of one!) and it turns out that it's now my favorite kind of apple pie. The sour cream combines with a few other simple ingredients into a sweet custardy filling, and it's the perfect complement to the juicy apples. The buttery cinnamon streusel on top adds some delicious flavor and texture, and brings the whole pie together. This recipe is a keeper!
This sour cream apple pie is irresistible! It has tender apples in a sweet custard, with buttery cinnamon streusel and flaky pie crust.
I made a few tweaks to Alicia's recipe based on what I had on hand, and it still turned out totally fabulous! I only had three granny smith apples, so I substituted 2 Jonagold apples, and they all harmonized well together. I used my favorite homemade pie crust, which always adds a little something extra over a store-bought crust. It's so flaky and tender, and works perfectly with any kind of filling!
This sour cream apple pie is irresistible! It has tender apples in a sweet custard, with buttery cinnamon streusel and flaky pie crust.
I know it's hard to be patient, but it's important to wait for the pie to cool before serving, so the filling can set up nicely so it's easy to cut and serve. I served mine just slightly warm, with a little caramel sauce drizzled over the top and some vanilla ice cream on the side. It made for an absolutely decadent and unforgettable dessert!
This sour cream apple pie is irresistible! It has tender apples in a sweet custard, with buttery cinnamon streusel and flaky pie crust.
Sour Cream Apple Pie

for the crust:
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter
1/4 cup buttermilk (or milk plus a splash of vinegar)

for the filling:
1 1/3 cups sour cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons flour
4-5 large apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

for the streusel:
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350. To make the crust, in a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the flour and salt. Grate the cold butter into the flour mixture, and cut in using a pastry blender or the paddle attachment, until the pieces of butter are no larger than pea sized. Add the buttermilk, and mix until the dough just starts to come together. Turn out onto a floured surface and gently work into a ball, handling as little as possible. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least twenty minutes. When ready to use, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and fit it into a 9 or 10 inch deep dish pie pan.

To make the filling, in a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs, and flour. Toss the apples in the sour cream mixture. Pour the apple filling in the prepared pie crust and spread evenly. To make the streusel, whisk the flour, sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon together with a fork in a small bowl. Drizzle in the melted butter and whisk until the butter is blended in and the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top of the apple mixture. Bake 60-70 minutes, until the streusel is browned and apples are tender. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

adapted from Posie Gets Cozy
This sour cream apple pie is irresistible! It has tender apples in a sweet custard, with buttery cinnamon streusel and flaky pie crust.

10.20.2021

Apple Cinnamon Crumb Bars

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These sweet and buttery apple cinnamon crumb bars have two tender crumb layers surrounding a luscious apple filling. They're so delicious!
These sweet and buttery apple cinnamon crumb bars have two tender crumb layers surrounding a luscious apple filling. They're so delicious!
Last week we went apple picking as a family, and somehow ended up with around seventy pounds of apples (yikes!). We were having too much fun picking, and I guess we just couldn't stop. We've been making all of our favorite apple recipes, like this apple crisp, these apple cinnamon streusel muffins, and this apple cinnamon baked french toast. I'm planning to make a big batch of this Instant Pot cinnamon applesauce, and a bunch of baked apple chips for school lunches. I've still got plenty of apples left, though, so I had some fun baking up these apple cinnamon crumb bars. They're a twist on my favorite strawberry crumb bars, and I love that they combine so many delicious flavors and textures!
These sweet and buttery apple cinnamon crumb bars have two tender crumb layers surrounding a luscious apple filling. They're so delicious!
I love that this recipe uses ingredients that I always have on hand (even when I don't have a glut of apples) so they're easy to make year round. There's something extra awesome about apple cinnamon in the fall, though, right? 
These sweet and buttery apple cinnamon crumb bars have two tender crumb layers surrounding a luscious apple filling. They're so delicious!
These apple cinnamon crumb bars are simple and quick to throw together, and the apples bake into a delicious filling that tastes just like apple pie. They're so rich and buttery, and the combination of buttery cinnamon crumb and sweet and luscious apples is absolute perfection! This recipe makes around 24 servings, so there are plenty to share with friends or neighbors. This recipe is bound to be a new fall favorite!
These sweet and buttery apple cinnamon crumb bars have two tender crumb layers surrounding a luscious apple filling. They're so delicious!
Apple Cinnamon Crumb Bars

for the crust:
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 cup cold butter, grated
1 egg, beaten

for the filling:
4 medium apples, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 teaspoons corn starch

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease (or line with foil or parchment) a 9 x 13 pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and flour. Cut in the butter using two knives or a pastry blender, until the pieces are no bigger than pea sized. Stir in the egg to form a crumbly dry dough. Pat half of the dough in an even layer in the prepared pan. In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and corn starch, then spread the apple mixture on top of the dough in the pan. Crumble the remaining dough evenly over the apple layer. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.
These sweet and buttery apple cinnamon crumb bars have two tender crumb layers surrounding a luscious apple filling. They're so delicious!

10.18.2021

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

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These apple cinnamon streusel muffins are full of delicious fall flavors, with the perfect tender crumb!
These apple cinnamon streusel muffins are full of delicious fall flavors, with the perfect tender crumb!
I mentioned last week that my ten year old started a baking club with her best friend, and I'm excited to share another recipe that they made with you today! These apple cinnamon streusel muffins are incredibly delicious, and so easy and quick to make (although I'll warn you that if you make them with two giggly ten year olds, it may take a little extra time for giggling breaks and so on...). Muffins are one of my favorite things to bake with kids because they're pretty forgiving and don't have to be perfect. My kids love scooping the batter into the muffin tins and sprinkling the streusel on top. It's so fun for them to be able to eat a snack that they made themselves! 
These apple cinnamon streusel muffins are full of delicious fall flavors, with the perfect tender crumb!
Feel free to use whatever kind of apple you like for these muffins, as long as it's not too mushy. I've used Granny Smith, Jonagold, Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, and Gala, and they've been delicious each time. I definitely think they taste better with a more flavorful apple, but use whatever you have on hand!
These apple cinnamon streusel muffins are full of delicious fall flavors, with the perfect tender crumb!
Theses muffins are best on the day they're baked, but they'll stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container. I've found that if I leave them out on the counter, they need to be used within a day or two, or else they get a little soggy. These apple cinnamon streusel muffins really allow the apple flavor to shine, and the combination of cinnamon and apple flavors is totally delicious. The streusel on top adds a sweet and buttery crunch, and makes them totally irresistible!
Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

for the muffins:
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

for the apples:
2 medium apples, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar

for the streusel:
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 425. Add 18 paper liners to two muffin tins. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and sugar. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until just barely combined. In a small bowl, toss the apples withthe cinnamon and sugar. Gently fold the apples into the muffin batter.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling 3/4 full. To make the streusel, whisk the flour, sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon together with a fork in a small bowl. Drizzle in the melted butter and whisk until the butter is blended in and the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle the streusel over the tops of the muffins. Bake 15 minutes, or until light golden brown on top and cooked through.

10.15.2021

Soft Halloween Sugar Cookies

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These soft Halloween sugar cookies have the best flavor and texture, and are so quick and easy to make!
These soft Halloween sugar cookies have the best flavor and texture, and are so quick and easy to make!
One of my favorite guilty pleasure foods is those horrible (and oddly delicious) soft sugar cookies (like Lofthouse brand) at the grocery store. They're generally pretty dry and flavorless, and they stick to the roof of your mouth. They don't have a lot of redeeming qualities, but somehow I still love them. Since I can't seem to stop buying them, I decided it would be fun to make a homemade version that's even better than the original! These soft Halloween sugar cookies are way better than the store-bought version. They're so soft and flavorful and buttery, and absolutely perfect! 
These soft Halloween sugar cookies have the best flavor and texture, and are so quick and easy to make!
The dough for these cookies is simple to make, and has just seven ingredients. You'll want to just slightly under-bake the cookies so they stay soft in the middle. I love how thick and puffy they are! As far as the frosting, you can choose whatever colors you like, but I thought green, orange, and purple would be perfect for Halloween. I like to use gel food coloring to give it a more vibrant color. You will only need a drop or two for each color of frosting. 
These soft Halloween sugar cookies have the best flavor and texture, and are so quick and easy to make!
Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies, add some festive sprinkles, and you're all set. They are so adorable, and absolutely delicious too!
These soft Halloween sugar cookies have the best flavor and texture, and are so quick and easy to make!
These cookies will stay fresh for up to a week if stored in an airtight container. The recipe makes around two dozen cookies, so they're perfect for parties!
These soft Halloween sugar cookies have the best flavor and texture, and are so quick and easy to make!
As much as I love those store-bought cookies, I don't think I can go back now that I've found this homemade version. They are so good!
These soft Halloween sugar cookies have the best flavor and texture, and are so quick and easy to make!
Soft Halloween Sugar Cookies

for the cookies:
1 cup (8 ounces) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

for the frosting:
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons milk or cream (I used half and half)
1-2 drops orange, purple, and green gel food coloring

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla, and mix well. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix until a firm dough forms. Chill 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400. Roll the dough into one inch balls and place on baking sheets lined with parchment or sprayed with cooking spray. Flatten each ball slightly with your hand or with a drinking glass to be about 1/3-1/2 inch thick. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the bottom edges are just slightly golden brown. Remove and let cool before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and enough milk or cream to thin to desired consistency. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the food coloring and beat until well distributed. Frost cookies as desired.
These soft Halloween sugar cookies have the best flavor and texture, and are so quick and easy to make!

10.13.2021

Candy Bar Blondies

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These candy bar blondies are so delicious and indulgent, and loaded with all of your favorite treats!
These candy bar blondies are so delicious and indulgent, and loaded with all of your favorite treats!
Leftover Halloween candy has never been a problem at my house, since everyone who lives here has a pretty extreme sweet tooth and would eat candy all day if I let them, but if you do happen to have that problem, these candy bar blondies are for you! Or... if you just like to eat over the top delicious treats, these candy bar blondies are for you. Or if you like super easy (but still totally delicious) desserts, these candy bar blondies are for you. (They're pretty much for everyone, unless you don't like chocolate, or cookies, or deliciousness.) They are so easy to make, with only around 15 minutes of hands on time, and loaded with all of your favorite treats!
These candy bar blondies are so delicious and indulgent, and loaded with all of your favorite treats!
I mixed Kit Kats, Reese's cups, Snickers, Twix, Mini M&M's, and chocolate chips into my blondies, but feel free to use whatever candy you like, as long as it's about two cups of chocolate total. I like to mix 3/4 of it into the dough, then sprinkle the remaining 1/4 on top to make the blondies extra pretty.
These candy bar blondies are so delicious and indulgent, and loaded with all of your favorite treats!
The blondies bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted two inches from the edge comes out clean and they are lightly golden brown around the edges. They'll still be soft gooey and rich in the middle, with just slightly crisp edges. Blondie perfection!
These candy bar blondies are so delicious and indulgent, and loaded with all of your favorite treats!
If you let the blondies cool most of the way before cutting them, they'll be much easier to slice and cut much more evenly. They're pretty delicious warm, though, so I wouldn't blame you if you just want to dig right in! They're fantastic plain, or with a glass of milk, but they're even more over-the-top delicious with a scoop of ice cream and some chocolate sauce on top. So good!
These candy bar blondies are so delicious and indulgent, and loaded with all of your favorite treats!
Candy Bar Blondies

12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped candy bars, any variety

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. In a large bowl whisk together the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until smooth. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix until just combined. Fold in 1 1/2 cups of the candy bars, being careful not to crush them. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan and sprinkle with the remaining candy bars. Bake 30 minutes, or until just golden around the edges. Let cool before slicing and serving.
These candy bar blondies are so delicious and indulgent, and loaded with all of your favorite treats!